I loved Saturday morning cartoons and other programs as a child…yeah, that’s it, only as a child.
I even willingly (more or less) went to bed Friday nights so I could get up early to watch cartoons like:
Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour,
Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear (hey Boo-Boo!), Space Ghost,
Jabberjaw, The Banana Splits, The Pink Panther Show, The Jetsons, The Flintstones,
Josie and the Pussycats (ok, they went to outer space;
smart, getting a bigger audience share), Shazam!,
Superfriends, Batman, Superman, Grape Ape,
Fantastic Four, various Captain Caveman,
Harlem Globetrotters, Schoolhouse Rock,
The Addams Family (the ill-fated cartoon version),
Return of the Planet of the Apes, Land of the Lost,
The New Shmoo, The New Adventures of Gilligan,
Godzilla (with Godzooky), Spiderman, Smurfs, Ewoks,
Star Trek (sigh, yes, boldly going into cartoons),
Cucumber Club (I was a member), Blackstar,
Inch High Private Eye, Fat Albert, Speed Racer,
Hilarious House of Frightenstein, Tom and Jerry,
The Banana Splits, Underdog, H.R. Puff’n’Stuff,
Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, Droopy Dog,
Mighty Mouse, Hong Kong Phooey (before political correctness),
and probably more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.
Just so you understand how sad this is, I can still sing all the words to all these theme songs.
A graphic novel like Rocky and Bullwinkle takes me back to a simpler time. I know how old that makes me sound, but there it is.
Even as I read Rocky and Bullwinkle #1: The Psychic Sidekick by Roger Langridge (IDW Publishing/Diamond Book Distributors), I marvelled at the blatant anti-Soviet/Russian sentiment and thought, hmmm, I see why it’s making a comeback. Amuse children and adults, but wait, there’s more, also a propaganda tool! While not quite as funny as I remembered, but both R&B and Dudley Do-Right are still amusing in a cheesy way. Sometimes when they recycle these oldies but goodies they ruin them by modernizing or making them too politically correct, but no squirrel and moose are just as old school silly, yahoo!
So when did Saturday morning cartoons die and why?
VCRs then other recording devices, cable, internet, video games, etc. were the beginning.
Animation changed, more as a business, with little art involved.
Needing children to be ‘busy’ every minute of their day was a big factor. Pushing for more ‘quality’ family time that involved paid activities, traveling, etc. another.
When I was young, quality time with my parents came later in the day, after they had slept in – their reward for a long work week.
My brother and I foraged for food, cereal or toast, leftover soup or spaghetti, if you were lucky, cold pizza from the night before. There were simple rules to Saturday morning: try to be quiet (I’m sure my brother and I were awesome at this rule) and don’t make a mess (if you do, clean it up). I think it taught my brother and I independence, and we enjoyed the time together.
There have been other changes in society. The divorce rate has increased significantly since then and now many children live between homes.
More recreational sports now. Anything else?
There are still many cartoons, but available anytime…
I kind of miss the days when you saw The Grinch and Charlie Brown’s Christmas once a year at Christmas, and cartoons only on Saturday morning.
Life should have seemed limited, but instead we just felt lucky to see them, not entitled.